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Showing posts from 2022

Massive Snake Terrorizing Queensland Escapes Wrath of Fiercely Protective Cloncurry Mother

Maybe the Daily Mail exaggerated a touch? "A giant brown snake menacing a mother and her child." Image by Dall-E and David Arandle. Australia has an international reputation for being the home of multiple things that will kill you on the land or in the oceans (and potentially hiding under toilet seats). What isn't mentioned is that most of these things really can't be arsed (sorry for the bit of vulgarity but we're talking Aussie wildlife here) attacking you unless you accidentally surprise them or deliberately attack them first. So when a viral TikTok showing a Queensland, Cloncurry Mother shepherding her toddler child and pet dog back indoors, while holding a baby, because she spotted a 'massive' brown snake quietly taking advantage of the warmth from her driveway. started doing the rounds, I was like, that's pretty much an average day in an Australian country town. However that didn't stop the Daily Mail from talking up the danger with their h

TV Series Review: Wednesday (2022, Netflix) *No Spoilers*

It's kind of refreshing to see a show with Tim Burton's name on it that, while it is everything you'd expect Tim would be into, it feels like he paired it back just enough that it doesn't scream Tim Burton at you (if that makes any sense whatsoever). Wednesday somehow manages to be a fine blend of the source material and Tim Burton's signature style. To the point where Wednesday feels more like a next chapter in the story rather than a whole new thing. It almost feels like a continuation of The Adams Family movies that Christina Ricci (who co-stars in Wednesday) played a younger version of Wednesday in. It's easy to imagine that it could be, given the rest of the Adams family doesn't play a very prominent role in the series overall. So you're not bumping into the new cast too much at all, and Wednesday Adams (Jenna Ortega) is older here - and it's not unusual to see a child actor recast older in sequels. The basic premise is Wednesday is sent to he

TV Series Review: The Peripheral (2022 - Prime Video) *No Spoilers*

It's rare these days that I come across a TV series that disappoints me at the end of each episode because I don't want it to stop. The Peripheral is exactly like that. However, now all of the first season's eight episodes are on Prime Video, you don't have to wait week to week, as I did. Binge them all in one go if you must. My only disappointment in Season 1 is that now I have to wait and hope there is a season 2 because (minor spoiler) the story is only half way done (or less if they do a third season). At the time of writing season 2 was not yet confirmed but The Peripheral overtook The Rings of Power as Prime's top streaming show, so that is very promising for the show to return. Based upon a William Gibson novel of the same name, which I have not read, but I am aware that Gibson is a big gun amongst influential Sci-Fi authors. I've only read his book Neuromancer many decades ago which influenced the rise of Cyberpunk  in popular culture during the 1980s

TV Series Review: Star Wars Andor (2022, Disney+) *No Spoilers*

I'm a huge fan of most of the live action Star Wars, Disney+ TV series. Though I do think The Book of Boba Fett and Obi Wan both dropped the ball a little with fan expectations.  Star Wars Andor , on the other hand, is a series no one was really asking for but quite a lot of us who tuned in are hugely thankful that it was made. Many have commented that this is the best Star Wars we've seen in quite a while. Personally I think it's the best Star Wars since The Empire Strikes Back . Having said that, I will concede, for fans that feel this series is slow and boring (of which there clearly are a lot of you), I did feel the episodes leading up to the heist really started to drag a bit. Which is not to say the earlier episodes weren't good, they just seemed to keep promising the heist episode sooner than it actually happened. Andor covers the start of the Rebellion in the Star Wars universe. It's basically the other side of the story to the prequel trilogy which show t

Comic Book Movies are Becoming Too Long for Theatres

You would think you can never have enough of your favorite comic book movie characters on the big screen. The longer a movie the better, right? Well, actually, no. Some recent examples; The Batman was just shy of three hours long. Thor Love and Thunder, almost two hours, Black Adam, two hours five minutes, Wakanda Forever , two hours forty one minutes. Runtime is seriously starting to become a factor as to whether I want to go see a film in a theatre because anything north of two hours is a long time to be seated, and then you really have to start factoring in a bathroom break. The Bathroom Break - Just Go. It's No Big Deal! I realize this is a very first world problem, and I hear those who say if you need a bathroom break during a film just go. It's not a big deal... and it isn't, I agree but... When I see a movie I don't really want to be taken out of the experience - especially literally. If I'm going to need a bathroom break it's very likely it's going t

Movie Review: Clerks III (2022) *Spoiler Free*

I am generally a fan of director Kevin Smith's films, but after one watch through I'm not really sure if Clerks III really lives up to my expectations. Which is partly because I've heard nothing but positive feedback from audiences who saw the movie in theatres as part of Smith's Convenience Tour (in which he personally introduces the movie and I believe has a Q&A session afterward). I do tend to ignore negative reviews of Smith's films because critics (and people in general) who really don't care for his films tend not to hold back. They'll criticize everything mercilessly, like a tidal wave of negativity that just tells you they're probably horrible people with parental issues. Anyway, Clerks III, continues from Clerks II but pays more homages to the original Clerks over the course of the film. The time jump is basically the real life equivalent of time between Clerks II and III. Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) are still

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills... Err.. Asteroids - The Space Gold Rush 'Pot of Gold in the Sky'

Space Prospector on Mars, Image: TET/DALL.E NASA is said to be pushing ahead with its plans to launch a mission to a nearby asteroid that potentially contains gold, along with enough quantities of other precious metals, to make everyone on Earth rich beyond their wildest dreams. At least that's the hyperbolic headline Channel Ten's The Project put on their article,  NASA To Explore Golden Asteroid That Could Make Everyone On Earth A Billionaire . Can you imagine? That's one mega huge 'pot of gold in the sky' just waiting for every tin pot prospector to 3D print spaceship conversions for their rusty old trucks and take off for the new frontier! You know those Big Cheese , one percenters, with their own personal spaceships, have thought about it, and Space X (Elon Musk's reusable Spaceship Company) is a part of getting the mission off the ground (literally). As it turns out, while NASA plays down the gold aspect, to the point of barely mentioning the potential v

Elon Musk Buys Twitter, Launches Twitter Blue... FaceBook Probably Watching Very Closely

Elon Musk in a spaceship sending out a Tweet. Image by David Arandle + Mage.AI Most people who follow the news cycle are probably aware that tech billionaire, Elon Musk, bought the social media giant Twitter . While his overall goal is to make the platform a better experience with fewer bots, he's also invested in turning it into a network that actually makes rather than loses money. After firing a large part of Twitter's workforce, which former CEO, Jack Dorsey, has taken responsibility for by saying he grew the company too fast too soon, Elon launched Twitter Blue . The initial rumored price for Twitter Blue was US$20.00 per month but this has since been revised and set at US$7.99/per month.  Though on my own account in Australia the cost is AU$6.99 per month, which at the current conversion rate means I'm getting a considerable discount. The point of Twitter Blue, aside from offering a number of features not available to those on 'free' accounts, like longer twe

Book Review: Unbelievable - My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur

I was quite looking forward to reading this book despite being on the complete opposite side of the political spectrum to Donald Trump. However, while it started out strong, it reads very much like how Trump's Presidential campaign panned out, getting less and less interesting as it gets closer to an ending that everyone knows. Unbelievable - My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur doesn't really deliver much of an insider view beyond what NBC correspondent, Katy, and others reported on the news. Sure we get an insider look at Katy's perspective and some of the politics of being an on air news reporter when you're not particularly known for political reporting, but I don't feel we really get too much more. I didn't get the sense it was particularly any more crazy than any other campaign despite Trump's head on approach to saying exactly what he thought in front of the media, and for his supporters seemingly thinking they h

Robot Uprising Update: Google's Army of One Hundred AI Enabled Robots

An Everyday Robot contemplating its life choices and the problem of stairs. I've been monitoring the impending robot uprising for years in this blog (you're welcome) and, while iRobot is making some progress toward putting robot vacuum cleaners into every home, Google is taking it to the next level. Which doesn't mean they've decided to attach laser guns to internet connected vacuum cleaners to kick off an early robot Armageddon, fortunately. Their big idea is Everyday Robots , a robot helper for your home that can learn and help with almost anything. From the Everyday Robots website: Our vision is to build robots that will be as transformative to the physical world, as our computers are in the digital world. But to get there, we first need to take on the hardest problem in robotics — building robots that can learn how to help us with just about anything. Google's robot basically looks like a mobile pedestal with cameras on the head and a fairly substantial robot

Flying Cars of the Past - When Car Companies Were Serious About Developing Hover Cars

Courtesy of Colouring the Past (which I believe is a Facebook Interest group for people who like restoring and coloring black and white images and film footage from history) this image of Ford's, 1959 Levacar Mach 1 concept vehicle came through my newsfeed and sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole. The Ford Levacar Mach 1 Concept Vehicle (1959) and the toy model kit the public could buy. Image source: Colouring the Past . Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my interest in the promise of 'flying cars' which, if the film Back to the Future II is to be believed (yes I know it's not a documentary), we should've had by 2015. It's at least fascinating to learn that Ford founder, Henry Ford, thought hovercars might be the next evolution of personal transport. Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come. - Henry Ford 1940. How Ford's Levapads work. Image: The Ford Levacar did actually wor

Tesla Unveils Optimus Robot Prototype and Second Generation Prototype - Movie, iRobot, May Be a Documentary?

Tesla Optimus Prototype One, Development Platform. September 30th finally rolled around along with Tesla A.I. day and the unveiling of not one but two Tesla Optimus Robot prototypes. Which was quite a bonus since we hadn't heard anything much about these robots when I wrote about them in July of 2022. Before revealing the first prototype, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, made a point of managing everyone's expectations, just in case anyone was thinking they were about to see anything close to the actual human concept 'robot' we saw last year. I honestly don't think anyone was expecting that. Prototype One - Development Platform The prototype that walked out on stage, for the very first time without ever being tethered to anything (apparently), was still incredibly impressive despite not being streamlined and highly refined in its capability. It walked quite well - eerily similar to the first generation robots in the 2004, Will Smith movie, iRobot , and even did a bit of a dan

Carbon Offsetting/Credits - The Murky Con of Net Zero Carbon Emissions

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier Following on from my previous post,  Regardless of Whether You Believe in Climate Change You Should at Least Believe in Better Environmental Practices , I made a passing reference to the con that is carbon offsetting. In simple terms, it allows companies to continue to produce carbon emissions so long as they fund environmentally 'friendly' initiatives elsewhere. The whole concept has matured into the Carbon Credit/Offset scheme where companies can literally buy and sell carbon credits so they can claim 'reduced carbon emissions' or even 'net zero emissions' without actually reducing emissions at all. Ever since I first heard of the concept of carbon offsetting and how it worked, I've said it was a scam. You don't need to do any research at all to know it is.  To make an analogy, imagine if every week I empty my household trash onto your front lawn. It's a dick move. You wouldn't like it, and you'd expect me to cle

Regardless of Whether You Believe in Climate Change You Should at Least Believe in Better Environmental Practices

Cow burps contribute to greenhouse gases. A beef cow flying through the clouds wearing an open astronaut's helmet. photorealistic. wide angle lens. Dall.e + David Arandle The Australian Government has been in the process of passing some bill that contributes towards meeting some goals on Climate Change that we probably agreed to at least two decades ago at a United Nations Meeting on the issue. I guess? I kind of researched it a little recently.  It's one of those issues I've kind of followed but generally don't like to argue because climate change deniers are some of the most negative and obnoxious people you'll ever come across.  These days climate change is closely linked to energy production and how we generate power because fossil fuel power plants are said to be big emitters of Carbon Dioxide, which contributes to global warming (apparently). Most of Australia's power plants are coal plants, with a small percentage leaning towards renewables like solar and

TV Series Review: The Sandman (2022 Netflix) *No Spoilers*

I've heard from multiple sources, who read comics, that The Sandman series of comics (or maybe graphic novel?) written by Neil Gaiman is both influential and considered classics. As I'm not a comic book reader but someone who appreciates films and TV shows based upon characters and stories from comics, I decided to check the Netflix series, The Sandman , out. Going in, I knew this show wasn't really my thing. It's kind of fantasy/horror (not much horror but definitely leaning that way). I like fantasy and anything that explores dreams as something other than fleeting visions, but it all looked too serious and gothic emo for me. Season one could easily be broken into two halves. In the first half Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the personification of dreams, is captured by a mortal wizard, spending decades in captivity before escaping to recover his 'tools' and reclaim his realm. In the second half Morpheus finds himself at a loss and looking for purpose. To be honest

Score a Goal in Five Steps Tracker - Plan and Track Any Goal Using a Simple, Two Page, Digital/ Printable Work Sheet or 24 Page Journal

Score a Goal in Five Steps Tracker. Digital or Printable Worksheet. Completing any complex task or project can be made simple by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. If you're the kind of person who does this, and likes to see more measurable results than just ticking off tasks on a to do list, then my Score a Goal in Five Steps Tracker may be for you. This Five Step Tracker is a two page digital or printable worksheet that you can fill in anytime you have a complex task that you want to track your progress on. If you find the format useful there's also a 24 page, 5"x8" journal version so you can track multiple goals. To use the Five Step Tracker, write your Goal/Project in the top box of the first page. Next break this down into five smaller steps and write those into the boxes provided. If any of the five steps are still quite complex tasks on their own then there is room to break each step down into up to five additional sub steps. Write these in

TV Show Review: Paper Girls (2022 - Amazon Prime)

If ever there was a show that was not what I was expecting, based on the trailer, it's Paper Girls . The trailer suggests the basic plot is four pre-teen paper delivery girls from 1988 somehow, find themselves transported into the future (2019), and must find their way back with the help of at least one of their adult selves. It's a cool idea, and the time travel aspect piqued my interest enough to see what a show, seemingly targeted at young adult girls, was all about. While the first episode is somewhat purposefully all over the place, raising more questions with no answers in sight, once you get to the second episode... wow. This is not your basic, we gotta get back to our time , time travel plot. If you're a fan of Science-fiction, time travel stories, or just really great character development, this show has all three in spades. It's by no means basic, or dumbed down for younger viewers. While it does present like a show for tweens, there's plenty here for olde

NASA Goes Back to the Moon - Sending More Weird Stuff Into Space Onboard the Artemis I Spacecraft

A suited manikin (named Commander Moonikin Campos during a public contest) will occupy the commander’s seat inside the Orion capsule  to provide data on what crew members may experience in flight. All going to plan, by the time this blog is posted, NASA's Artemis I spacecraft will be on its way to the moon. Scheduled to launch August 29th, the unmanned spacecraft will circle around the moon over 42 days before returning to Earth. The trip is a 'proof of concept' mission that will eventually lead to an astronaut training facility established on the moon, with a long term view of sending people to Mars. The Moon's No#1 Tourist Attraction: The Big Cheese ! As excited as I am for NASA once again setting its sights on manned missions to the moon, I'm equally delighted to hear they're still in the business of  sending weird stuff into space  (I'm still hopeful that one day they'll build a 'big cheese' on the moon). Mashable's  Elisha Sauers wrote

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